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Success is being happy and content with your life

Success is being happy and content with your life

This original article appeared in this digital version of The Sunday Guardian Live paper here. See page #16 for specific article.

“Success is being happy and content with your life”

Q: What sparked the idea of creating Saba Family Foundation?
A: Saba Family Foundation was set up to be a catalyst for solving women’s issues like domestic violence, harassment, education and health.

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The best thing is that I get to meet the survivors and talk to them. Working with advocates to fund their causes and organizing campaigns to help push change.

Q: What is your idea of a perfect vacation?
A: Perfect vacation for me is one with no phone, no computer, on a beach and a lot of good food.

Q: What is your motto if life?
A: My motto is to never give up on anything that one strongly believes in.

Q: Tell us about your hobbies.
A: I love swimming and gardening. I swim for hours because it allows me to connect with myself with every stroke, and it’s a great exercise for the whole body. Gardening because it connects me with the earth. That’s when I am outside with the birds and the squirrels who always steal my tomato before I get to them.

Q: What qualities according to you one should possess to be successful in life?
A: Success is different for everyone. To me, it is being happy inside and content with the journey of life. When you are happy and positive, you can handle any hurdle, any negative thing that life hits you with through the course of life. Thus you are a successful person when you attain happiness from within.


Making a difference

Making a difference

Malini Saba talks about balancing her roles of being a businesswoman and philanthropist, her passion for writing and love for cooking.

A self-made businesswoman and an ardent philanthropist, Malini Saba is truly a multitasker.

She started Saba Industries in the 90’s when the industry was dominated by men. “It was a man’s world when I began my career and I would never have been given the opportunity to lead a company. Thus, I put my savings together and started it. It evolved over time and now we have over 2,000 employees in eight countries. This journey has not been easy and through it all we have had failures and down turns.  But it has been a great journey,” shares Saba, who comes from a middle-class family and whose father was ailing when she was in high school. Holding herself strong, she studied Psychology and did her PhD in the field. “It was not an easy road but it made me stronger and made me understand the value of education and money.”

In 2002, she launched The Saba Family Foundation to serve as the umbrella organisation for all her philanthropic works. The foundation’s three areas of focus are healthcare, education and human rights. Saba believes that with money and power comes responsibility. “It is not there for us to abuse. I strongly feel that when God entrusts us with large amounts of money, through our hard work we must give back and make a difference to this world. I chose to do that.  I want to be able to make a difference and improve the lives and public policy for women and children. Women’s issues have always been in the forefront for me. Despite modernisation of societies, we still hold women to a different standard —their voices and cries are not heard and not taken seriously. This has to change.”

Saba has also penned The Abbreviated Cook — a book of quick and easy recipes. “Writing is a passion for me and cooking is therapeutic. I enjoy feeding my family and I believe we pass love through our food,” shares Saba, who is currently in the middle of writing another book.

After a long day of work, she comes home to her husband, child, cats and dogs.

“They are the most important part in my life. When I am not traveling, I make it a point to drop and pick up my child from school, do the grocery shopping for dinner that night and come home and make dinner with a glass of good wine. That is my normal routine. I make sure I always read to my daughter every night and talk to her about life, universe and why we are all here. This I do without fail even when I am traveling, Facetime is awesome for that. I want to give her an understanding of the world and life. I believe it’s important for parents to talk to their kids. It’s not about the amount of time you spend with them. When you do spend time with them, you have to give them 100 per cent of your time —meaning no phone, no computer, no one else talking to you. Just you and the child. That quality time is priceless.”

This article originally posted here @ THE ASIAN AGE.

Published : Oct 12, 2018, 12:23 am IST
Updated : Oct 12, 2018, 12:23 am IST

Publication:          Asian Age

Headline:              Making Difference

Language:            English

E-paper Link:

Edition:                 Delhi

Online Coverage link

A Supportive Man Can Help A Woman Move Mountains: Malini Saba

A Supportive Man Can Help A Woman Move Mountains: Malini Saba

A Supportive Man Can Help A Woman Move Mountains: Malini Saba

Women are the real architects of the society, said Harriet Beecher Stowe, and it is certainly true in case of Malini Saba.

A businesswoman who knows what it means to build an empire from scratch, she’s the Founder-CEO of The Saba Industries and The Saba Family Foundation. Her story is inspiring to say the least, and much more can be learned from her strong will, passion and the hard work that she puts towards what she believes in.

In a chat with SHEROES, she talks about how her life has panned out, about The Saba Family Foundation which is very close to her heart and what it takes to be a leader.

I was born in a small town in Malaysia, the eldest of 4 siblings. We did not have much growing up and hence, my goal was to always provide for my family. I studied and put myself through school and University by working three jobs, only to start my own business 26 years ago.

I now live in Vietnam and part of the time in Monaco. I have a beautiful child who is my life and soul. I’m grateful to have a spouse who is so supportive of my career and a strong man who is able to be home while I work.

His support means everything to me because it confirms to me that a supportive man can make a woman move mountains.

Helping Others Was What I Wanted To Do, Always

I knew early on in life that helping others is what I wanted to do. I strongly believe that my role in this world is to help others. In order to do that, I had to build myself up and establish a company that earned money to fund the Saba Family Foundation.

My father always helped his not-so-well-to-do family in Sri Lanka. He consistently told me that money is not to be taken for granted. It is a privilege given by God and if you ever make a lot of money, you must always give back.

Having grown up the hard way, studying and working through all sorts of odd jobs, I know what it is like to not have money, to struggle to feed yourself, pay your rent and take care of your siblings.

While this keeps me humble, it also makes me work hard to earn money and to make sure that I am able to manage the Saba Family Foundation and give back.

My nature is to make the wrong, right. I am not afraid to fight the biggest and the strongest. That has consequences but it has to be done to help those who cannot, and do not have the funds to, defend themselves.

The Saba Family Foundation & Its Vision

We are the catalyst for change. We believe that when you help one woman, you help a community, and in turn the nation. I believe in a woman’s right to stand her ground, her right to read and work.

A woman is not an ornament to be passed around, she does not belong to people.

The foundation exists to fund scholarships, legal battles for women, engage in campaigns for women issues and help young girls.

Helping With Women Centric Issues

We work with well-known partners like CARE, NETAID, VITAL VOICES and  UNICEF. We also fund the build out of schools in different countries like Mexico and Ghana, to name a few.  We helped YUVA in the early part of the Millennium to build their sight in Mumbai too.

We also hold our own campaigns like the anti-bullying campaign through schools, work environments, and older adult housing. We feel domestic violence is a form of bullying too.

Our mission stays the same – help a woman to have a voice.

Taking The Leadership Role Early On

It has been an enriching experience and the best ride of my life. I have had three failures through the course of building this company, once almost losing it all. But I stuck through it, reviewed those failures and learned about people.

I think the best lesson is if you truly believe in your business and yourself, don’t ever give up! Stick through it, no matter what someone else says to you.

You will get there and it would be beyond your wildest dreams. Success never comes easy, it comes with its own share of problems. But the growth curve is high.

You also learn about those who will stand by you because of you and your vision, and those that are there only to be riders on your coat tails. It is very important to learn how to read people. If you have those two traits, you will be fine.

Women Leaders In Industrial Arena

It is very different for women to be in this area. Most people who are in this field are men and women are in really small numbers. There are very few that have built it from scratch. Usually, it’s passed on to them from their husband or family. But I did not have that luxury – I had to build Saba Industries block by block.

Women are not much respected to know their stuff in this field. I have always wanted to keep my femininity and be strong. I feel being a woman is not a weakness in this field, it’s actually a strength.

The Challenges Of An Entrepreneur

Our foundation is funded by the business. When it comes to the foundation, to find and fund the right groups that hold true to the vision, is very important to me. I am always involved with the final selections. I treat it like a business and make sure all the due diligence is done to make sure whatever we fund is viable and will be able to have an impact or get the result it needs.

But building a business is not easy – the biggest hurdle is getting others to believe in you to help you raise funds or debt. They felt I did not understand this space. They would give me lip service – entertain my proposal but politely say, “We will pass. Come back when you have sales.”

I decided to take a loan and used my credit cards to build it out. Basically, I put in all my life savings to buy the first couple of concessions for gold and iron ore to move ahead.

The third knock from the Universe was the worst, the funds we were expecting never showed up and that put us in such a bad place – it was followed by the markets tanking and price volatility. It was a nightmare but I believed in myself and my dream and the vision. I told my closest loyal staff, we have to stick it through and once again, my savings came into play.

But when I look back, it was all worth it. Now we are in 8 countries, in different mineral and agricultural space; but I am always careful because anything can change and you have to be prepared. This business is something that should outlast me and hopefully, my child will take over it.

What Motivates Me

Life experiences are what motivates me the most. I want to change and a better work environment for women, better political environment for women and education for women. I also want us, as a society, to embrace the changes because it’s inevitable.

Nirupama Kondayya Nirupama feels that life is all about #TakingCharge, one step at a time, everyday. She truly believes that women have the potential to achieve their dreams, once they put their heart into it. She also believes that being grateful for little things has big impacts in life.

Businesswoman with a Heart

Businesswoman with a Heart

10/6/2018 – This article originally from the India Business Journal – October 2018 @ =50

You may download the entire article here (PDFIndia Business Journal – October 2018. or
MS-WORD DOCX format here India Business Journal – October 2018

Sharmila Chand catches up with Ms. Saba (shown below) to know more about the business woman & philanthropist.
Send feedback tochand.sharmila@gmail. com.

Malini Saba is a self-made businesswoman and ardent philanthropist.

Born in Malaysia to a family of modest means, Ms. Saba spent her early life in Sri Lanka and Australia. Later, she migrated to the USA and, along with her husband, learned the nuances of business. In 2002, she launched The Saba Family Foundation to serve as an umbrella organization for all her philanthropic works. Through the foundation, she has helped millions of under-served women and children in South and South-East Asia, South America, Africa and the US gain access to life-saving medical and educational services and achieve economic stability. Funding for her philanthropic works comes from Saba Industries, a group of commodities companies that she has founded in Asia. Tak­ ing time off her  busy  schedule, Ms. Saba has penned The Abbreviated Cook, a book of quick and easy recipes that offer a twist on traditional South and South-East Asian dishes.

Q: What is your philosophy of life?
A: I believe that what goes around comes around, for I have lived long enough to see it being very true.

Q: What is your passion in life?
A: My passion and my calling in life are to help others and thus the foundation.

Q: What is your management mantra?
A: Never, never, never give up

Q: What would you like to say about your work?
A: My work is my baby. It is what I wake up to everyday. It does not define me, but it gives me great challenges, overcoming which gives me immense joy.

Q: Your strength...
A: Never giving up.

Q: A business Leader you admire the most...
A: I admire Steve jobs. He was relentless with his vision to succeed.

Q: Your weakness ...
A: Never giving up.

Q: Your kind of music...
A: I love Bollywood songs and Hip Hop.

Q: Your favourite holiday destination...
A: Bora Bora – Tahiti

Q: Golf or Bridge or...
A: Golf hands down. The game allows me to be away from my phones and alone on the grounds.

Q: You are a tough, serious boss or
A: I like to think that I am the serious kind of boss but with a soft touch much like an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Q: Formal suit or casual attire…
A: Casual attire any day

Q: What do you enjoy the most in lifegenerally?
A: I love cooking. It gives me great pleasure to come home from work and cook a variety of dishes for my family.

Q: How do you de-stress?
A: I find getting my nails done at a salon with my family very relaxing.

Q: Your mantra for success...
A: Get up, brush off, and keep at it.

Q: Your dream...
A: To make a movie in Bollywood.

Q: Ten years from now, where do we see you?
A: On my yacht, retired and writing my memoirs.